Q Grader

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Q Grader

Postby Ed Kaufmann on Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:19 pm

Can someone shed a little light on what it means to be "Q Certified"? I don't know very much about it. Some of the best palates I know aren't certified and they do just fine out in the coffee world. What are the advantages of being certified? Thank you.

Ed
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Re: Q Grader

Postby Ed Kaufmann on Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:41 pm

OR, if there is an existing thread covering this subject, please refer me. Thank you again.

ED
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Re: Q Grader

Postby coffeetaster on Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:29 am

Please see http://www.coffeeinstitute.org

Q Grader Program– A rigorous testing and certification program, this is the first comprehensive professional accreditation for coffee graders and cuppers, recognizing the deepest talent at work in our industry.

At the backbone of the Q Grading System are Licensed Q Graders, professional cuppers accredited by the Coffee Quality Institute. These Q Graders must pass a rigorous three-day exam to earn their certification, comprising 22 sections on coffee related subjects, such as green grading, roast identification, coffee cupping, sensory skills and sensory triangulation. There are currently 358 Licensed Q Graders worldwide. Along with providing grading services, Q Graders will support the arbitration process of the Green Coffee Association (GCA).
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Re: Q Grader

Postby Tim Dominick on Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:52 am

The value of Q grading certification is highest for cuppers at origin and perhaps holds less tangible values for micro roasters focusing on buying a small percentage of the world's top coffees. Q coffees tend to reside in the fundamentally sound but largely uninspiring 80-83 point range with an emphasis on uniformity and lack of defect as opposed to mind-bending cup qualities.

If you are a cupper at origin having a Q license will provide access to work and bolster your resume. Grading samples can be a lucrative secondary income source. The grading and/or cupping of a sample is worth somewhere around $30. At the peak of the export season a grader can really make some hay.

On the US side there are some grading opportunities, however the larger benefit is the relationship with CQI. As they rely greatly on volunteers, they need a pool of trained graders and cuppers as they move forward with projects. Spencer mentioned the arbitration aspect as well.

There are many capable cuppers who are not associated with the Q and there is no one suggesting that absent Q certification you are not a skilled cupper or grader. Conversely, most people, even those with great skill do not pass every section on the first try. Usually there are opportunities to retake sections during the 3 day period. The goal seems to be to give each session ample opportunity to pass without having to retake tests at a later date.

There are some people who simply love the challenge, there are others who stand to gain financially from passing the Q. The value is not universal, but it is a great program.
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Re: Q Grader

Postby SL28ave on Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:01 pm

I seriously want to take the test. From what I hear, there's a great chance I might fail the first time regardless of how hard I try! The whole "bell-curve" concept of the certification is interesting, though I can't help but disregard it when tasting a Tegu.


Ed Kaufmann wrote:Some of the best palates I know aren't certified and they do just fine out in the coffee world.

1983 might be the cutoff year where if you were born after it, you need Cert to do just fine in the coffee world. I was born in '82.

There's a certain Q Grader I'm shy to name who I want to autograph my tongue.
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Re: Q Grader

Postby Ed Kaufmann on Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:24 pm

I seriously want to take the test. From what I hear, there's a great chance I might fail the first time regardless of how hard I try! The whole "bell-curve" concept of the certification is interesting, though I can't help but disregard it when tasting a Tegu.


SL28ave wrote:
Ed Kaufmann wrote:Some of the best palates I know aren't certified and they do just fine out in the coffee world.

1983 might be the cutoff year where if you were born after it, you need Cert to do just fine in the coffee world. I was born in '82.


I am going to need to see some ID before you can come in our shop!

Can anyone tell me if there is a class in conjunction with the test or when you go up for the 3-day tastefest is it just the test with a couple of extra days for retakes?
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Re: Q Grader

Postby Edwin Martinez on Thu Sep 18, 2008 4:06 pm

Class is in conjunction with test. Many phenomenal cuppers have taken and not passed. While I recommend pursuing this, I would be cautious about putting too much weight in exactly what it means to have passed. It is a tool.. a GREAT tool that helps standardize language on how to talk about coffee.

CQI offers the course/test and as of earlier this year mane at coffeelabs and and we(onyxcoffee) will be offering this soon. I believe atlas in seattle is or will be a certified lab soon and may offer this as well.

http://www.coffeeinstitute.org/q_test_information.asp

For now we will have a 12 hour prep/crash course (3 - 4 hr sessions) in November in Bellingham, WA. In part this is because we realize it is hard for people to get away for a week. If you have interest you can email fanatics AT onyxcoffee DOT com for details. We will likely do this in the winter in Guatemala on a farm.
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Re: Q Grader

Postby Alistair Durie on Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:21 am

A little article and video snap on Q Grading: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la ... 0036.story
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